The Best of Friday Flash 2 Launch Day and My ABC’s

Launch day for Best of Friday Flash, Volume 2 is here.

This is the second anthology of works by authors that post and tweet links to their stories via the #FridayFlash hash-tag on Twitter. Friday Flash is an awesome Twitter community of writers who work together to help each other grow creatively. We read each others stories and comment on them. You don’t just get feedback on your stories through Friday Flash, though, you build relationships with other authors. And in this gig, you need to build relationships.

When I started posting stories on Friday Flash just a little over two years ago, I didn’t know a soul. Now, I have a ton of friends from FF on Twitter and many of us have also connected on Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, and even Linked-In. So, if you’re reading this and you are a new writer looking for a) a venue to get feedback on your work; and b) want to virtually meet some of the most kick-ass writers on the net, head over to Twitter and get started.  The Friday Flash web page has more information.

Now for the good stuff…the book! I just missed out on getting into the first volume of Best of Friday Flash, so when it came time for the second one to collect submissions, I had no doubt which story I wanted to send in to Jon and the gang.

The ABC’s of the Apocalypse was originally published in an anthology for Static Movement called Cosmic Catastrophes. I had sent the rough draft to my friend, writer and editor Jim Bronyaur, who sent it back with the words “I F**KING LOVE THIS!” written in black marker at the top. Now, Jim’s a horror guy. For him to say this about a science fiction piece of mine…well, I felt pretty damn good about it. So I sent it to Static, and they published it in Cosmic Catastrophes. After it was published, I posted it for the Friday Flash crowd. It was one of my best loved stories from Friday Flash and garnered the most positive comments of any Friday Flash story I ever posted.

The concept of the story is not a new one. I borrowed the style from a creepy fantasy story I read and liked by Tim Pratt, called Annabelle’s AlphabetAs for the theme, I was inspired by Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon, except that Amy in ABC’s has the opposite problem that Charlie Gordon had.

I am happy that BOFF2 liked ABC’s and included it in this anthology alongside some of the best flash stories around.

I will be getting an extra copy of BOFF2 delivered to me in a few days and will be giving it away during a contest soon.

Stay tuned for more information…and you can order a copy here, if you don’t want to wait for my lottery: Order BOFF2 .

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2011: The Year of the Roller Coaster

Image courtesy of Fotolia

2011 was a year with more ups and downs than a roller coaster for me, and I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. The job hunt was not going well, I got way behind on a lot of bills, got broke, and ate a crap-load of Raman noodles. All while waiting for student aid to come in. I finally got a student job at the college right when Fall Term started. YAY. It’s part-time and does not pay much, but it’s something. And I’m learning a great deal about the administration side of how a college works, information I’m sure will be useful when I finally get to be a professor.

As for writing, 2011 saw my first paid short story, “Nowhere Land” from Literary Mix Tapes “Eighty Nine” anthology. This was one of my best stories to date. Another of my best, also appeared in a 2011 anthology: “The King and His Twenty-Three Subjects,” a fantasy story appeared in the Florida Writer’s Association all-dialogue anthology “Let’s Talk.” I also wrote my first collaborative story, an apocalyptic short story titled “The Blight” told completely through emails with my friend zombie-master Jim Bronyaur. Speaking of zombies, I published a story in the Zombie Survival Crew’s anthology “Undead is Not An Option” about four foul-mouthed teenagers whose zombie role-playing game “Crunch Time” suddenly becomes a real struggle for survival against the undead horde. I started the year publishing a science fiction story that I also posted as Friday Flash and submitted to their Best of Friday Flash Volume 2, and hope to hear about that soon. Literary Mix Tapes also gave me a great writing start to 2011 by publishing my story “Sophie Solitaire: Confessions of an End-Time Girl” in the “Nothing But Flowers” collection.

I started an e-mag, The Were-Traveler this year. The first issue was released on Halloween. I’m looking forward to continuing it.

I taught my first class…a lecture for PINAWOR on the benefits of social media for writers. They were very social media shy writers, so I’m not sure I made much headway with them. But I learned what I ought to do and ought not to do the next time I make a presentation.

I fell short in some areas of my writing:

  • I wanted to have my first e-book collection released by the end of the year. Stuff came up. Mostly school work.
  • I did not blog as much as I wanted to, even though I got an award for Versatile Blogger. *smh*
  • I did not complete my novel that I started during NaNoWrimo 2010. I worked on it a little. Added a few words here and there.
  • I left a few stories hanging on the back-burner that really need to get finished as they are going in the collection.

All in all, an okay year.

But okay is not good enough. I want to be better than okay.

And for that, you’ll have to read my upcoming post about how I plan to set 2012 on fire!

Books & Reading: Jim Bronyaur’s “In the Corner”

Books and Reading

Not long ago, I downloaded Jim Bronyaur’s book “In the Corner” on my iPhone to read. I wanted to read it because (a) Jim’s a damn fine writer, (b) I did an interview with him about the book on my site for his book tour, and (c) Jim’s a damn fine writer! I know I already said that but you always need a (c) when you’re making points about stuff and I feel like that one was worth seconding!

About the book. First, the cover art is amazing:

Cover of "In the Corner" by Jim Bronyaur

The book is a compilation of three stories about three different men.

The first story, “When the Stars Fade,” is about a man who gets more than he bargained for when he meets a prostitute at an out-of-the-way bar. He winds up taking a serious beating from the woman’s boyfriend. As he starts to lose consciousness, he notices the stars overhead blinking out one-by-one. Something big and dark is coming out of the forest. Will it kill him? Or save him? A nice slice of horror to open the book with.

“The Second That Burns” is an intense psychological look at one man’s fear. Trevor survived an automobile accident that should have killed him. Now he has an extreme case of survivor’s guilt. He also has terrible flashbacks, set off by the simplest reminders of the accident. His psychiatrist is trying to help him, trying to find the key that will enable Trevor to live a normal life again. Will he succeed? Will Trevor be able to forgive himself for living? This story is so hard to categorize by genre. If pressed, I would call it psychodrama/thriller. Jim will keep you guessing Trevor’s fate with this tale until the very end, and then he will punch you in the gut.

The final story, “The Wrong Side of the Tracks,” is my personal favorite. It has much of an aura of King about it, but it’s definitely Jim’s voice. Plus, it’s loaded with references to “Night of the Living Dead.” The story centers around rock musician Evan and his girlfriend Barbara on a road trip to get away from it all before Evan gets set to record an album with his band, Butler. They are driving through rural Pennsylvania when suddenly the landscape starts to change whenever they blink. They wind up in a small town called Rome, where nothing is what is seems to be and it all changes every second, getting stranger and more horrifying with every blink of the eye. This story will have you on the edge of your seat before you finish reading it. It’s the longest of the three stories. I’m not sure on the word count but it reads like a short novella.

The three stories together are a deliciously intense blend of psychological horror and drama. You will definitely want to seek out Jim’s other works once you’re finished reading “In the Corner.”

See Jim’s website for more information on how to purchase “In the Corner.”

Win A Copy of ‘Undead Is Not An Option’

Includes my story "Crunch Time"

If you’ve been over to the #Horrorchat13 site, you’ll have seen there is a post over there where Jim Bronyaur and I are going to be giving away a copy of “Undead is Not an Option” to a lucky winner. This anthology published by Zombie Survival Crew features stories by both myself and Jim.

There’s even better news.

I’m going to be giving away two signed copies in the weeks to come on my website as well.

The rules are simple.

  1. Leave a comment on this post between now and July 2nd.
  2. On my birthday, July 3rd, I’ll be the one handing out the presents. I’ll do a random drawing of two names of folks who have left a comment. 
  3. Those two folks will get a copy of the book signed by yours truly mailed to them sometime in July. 
If your name doesn’t come out of the hat, don’t despair. I hope to have another copy of the book to give away in the future when the e-book version is released, at which time I’ll do another drawing and offer up another signed copy of the book and also give away an e-book version. 
That being said, have you checked out all the neat stuff posted on the #Horrorchat13 site for the beginning of Zombie Month? If not, you should. Here’s the linky: #Horrorchat13 Blog

E-pocalyptic E-mails at the End of Time

Courtesy of Pill Hill Press

Coming soon, a new anthology from Pill Hill Press which includes apocalyptic stories told through the medium of email messages.

This anthology features the collaborative efforts of many talented authors.

Jim Bronyaur and I teamed up for a terrifying tale called “The Blight,” that is so damn realistic it’s chilling.

In fact, some of the things we’d written about came true for us…impacting our lives in a strange “WTF? I can’t believe that happened” kind of way.

So, be on the look out for this one, folks.

There’s going to be some fine storytelling between this cover!

Jim Bronyaur’s “In The Corner” Blog Tour Coming Soon…

My friend Jim Bronyaur is going to be stopping by my website on June 24th to talk about his new book and music project: In The Corner. Jim is on the cutting edge, revolutionizing the way horror stories get told to his audience: he is adding music to his twisted tales. He will leave us a mini-concert of songs to enjoy from In The Corner. It promises to be exciting and if I know Jim, it will be kick-ass awesome!

For more information, see Jim’s post over at his blog: In The Corner Tour.

#HorrorChat13 and shiny new paperback books…

Courtesy of horrorchat.info

Jim Bronyaur and I just finished doing the first ever #HorrorChat13 Friday on Twitter and it was awesome. Lots of folks stopped in to talk with us about the Friday the 13th movies and horror in general. A bleeding, festering meme got started and a good time was had by all. Jim and I had a private chat on Saturday about what we’ll be cooking up for the future and I’ll just say this: You don’t want to miss it! It will be BLEEDING, FESTERING AWESOME. In caps, it’s that good. 😀 If you’d like to read Jim’s post about it over at the HorrorChat13 site it’s here and there’s a transcript of the whole thing right here.  Next month we are going to be talking about zombies and speaking of which…

In other news, I received a package from UPS today…guess what it contained?

Bad hair day...great book day.

That’s right! I’ve received my copies of Zombie Survival Crew’s Undead Is Not An Option, which has my insane RPG/Twitter story Crunch Time in it. I’m going to be publishing a post here soon that will give you a chance to win a copy. If you simply must have it now and don’t want to wait, you can purchase it at the Zombie Survival Crew Merch Shop.

Speaking of shiny and beautiful new paperbacks, the PB edition of Nothing But Flowerswill be launched by editor/author Jodi Cleghorn tomorrow. My story Sophie Solitaire: Confessions of an End-Time Girl is in that one. Jodi is launching her other flood charity project in paperback edition, 100 Stories for Queensland, tomorrow as well. The books will be available on Amazon or you can purchase them on Jodi’s sites by clicking on the titles. The proceeds from the purchase of these books goes to help people who were affected by the flooding in Queensland, Australia.

You could help some people out buying these books, and you’d have some quality stories to read, too.